Saturday, March 31, 2007

Zim urges youth groups to "silence opposition"

ZANU PF has relied on party youths and militia to crush the opposition during key elections

By Chenai Maramba

KAROI – Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF party political commissar Elliot Manyika has called on party youths and war veterans to prepare for a campaign of violence against the opposition, which he said had to be “silenced at all costs”.

Zimbabwe holds a presidential election as scheduled next year as well as early elections for Parliament after President Robert Mugabe abandoned plans to postpone the presidential poll to 2010.

The 83-year old Mugabe expects ZANU PF’s central committee meeting today to endorse him as candidate for the party in the presidential poll although some senior officials in the party are pushing for him to quit at the expiry of his term in March 2008.

Manyika, who spoke on Wednesday night at a hotel in the farming town of Karoi about 180km north-west of Harare, said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had to be taught that Zimbabwe’s independence “was won through blood”.

The youths and veterans of the country’s 1970s independence war would spearhead ZANU PF’s campaign for next year’s election while the army and police would back the ruling party, according to Manyika.

He said: "We have to gear up for violence against the opposition and we have to silence them at all costs especially here in the home province of our President (Karoi is in Mugabe’s home province of Mashonaland West). We have the army, police on our side and let’s teach them lessons that this country was won through blood."

War veterans and the youth militias have been the centrepiece of Mugabe and ZANU PF’s electioneering machine since 2000, unleashing violence, terror and murder against MDC supporters to ensure victory for the ruling party.

On the other hand, the army and police have been accused of either aiding ZANU PF youth militias or war veterans in committing violence against government opponents or simply turning a blind eye.

At least a hundred MDC activists have been killed during political violence since 2000.

Africa gives Mugabe OK on fighting sanctions

Zimbabwe’s neighbours fell in behind the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe yesterday and demanded that the West lift all sanctions on his country.

With opposition growing at home and a crumbling economy, pressure was mounting on the heads of surrounding states to urge their friend and comrade to reconsider his position. But in a communiqué issued at the end of what was billed as a make-or-break summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), 14 leaders reaffirmed their solidarity with the veteran President of Zimbabwe.

Their words will come as a crushing blow to campaigners who believed the tide to be turning against his increasingly autocratic 27-year rule.

Mr Mugabe smiled as he pushed past rorters in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, and declared himself satisfied. “Excellent meeting,” he cried, clapping his hands gleefully, before climbing into a waiting limousine. ...

ZimPundit on getting news despite censorship

"....In Zimbabwe, a nation dominated by government owned media, keeping up with the political realities is an impossible and risky undertaking. Media in Zimbabwe is dominated by a state owned daily newspaper, and state owned radio and television. All reports carried by state media are unsurprisingly partial to the government. There’s a vacuum for balanced reportage on the country. Western media on the hand, seem too eager to demonize the Mugabe regime. They seem to always go back to their all too old mantra of showing our nation and our people as undercivilized meanwhile ignoring our unprecedent fortitude.

The best opportunity to escape the barrage of propaganda is available to those who live in the cities. Urban residents, because they can receive text messages on their cell phones with news the government represses, are somewhat better off than their rural counterparts . Further, if you have the money you can also go to an internet café in. The second best thing is attempting to tune into foreign radio broadcasts which are dodgy at best. Other than that, word of mouth is the next best way to keep a finger on what is really going in the country. Cell phones and email have been a boon in this regard...."

Protests in Zimbabwe
To follow events as they unfold, visit our index page on Strikes and Protests in Zimbabwe in 2007.

View an animation of photographs (500kb) taken on March 13 when activists, arrested for gathering for the Save Zimbabwe Campaign Prayer Meeting in Highfields on March 11th, were brought to the Magistrates Court. Right click the link and save the file onto your computer to share with others.

ZANU-PF endorses Mugabe Reelection

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF party on Friday nominated President Robert Mugabe as candidate for a national presidential election expected next year.

If Mugabe wins the 2008 poll as many political analysts predict he most likely will do, he will rule until 2014 to complete 34 years at the helm.

With the United Nations estimating the average life span of Zimbabweans at 34 years, many of Mugabe’s compatriots born around 1980 when he first assumed power would probably die with him the only leader they will have ever known.

Senior ZANU PF officials who attended the party’s central committee meeting that endorsed Mugabe as presidential candidate said political commissar Elliot Manyika nominated the President saying he was the “only candidate and there was no one else”.

“Immediately, without anyone seconding the nomination, the whole room erupted into song, dance and ululating with many delegates repeatedly chanting Gushungo! Gushungo! (Mugabe’s totem),” said a central committee member who spoke to ZimOnline on condition he was not named.

“There was not even debate on the matter, it was well choreographed so much that whoever may have wanted to oppose Mugabe’s nomination did not stand a chance,” added the central committee member.

While the delegates were working themselves into a frenzy singing praises to Mugabe, the 83-year old President then rose to his feet and clapping hands to acknowledge the boisterous support from the floor, he then victoriously marched out of the conference room - on his way to lunch!

Friday, March 30, 2007

A current and future Zimbabwe

"...Two powerful factions within the ruling party want Mugabe out of office. These factions take credit for defeating Mugabe’s 2010 project. The more powerful of the two is led by retired general Solomon Mujuru, whose wife, Joyce, is one of Mugabe’s vice-presidents. A year ago, this faction was on the ascendancy, but has clearly fallen out of favour, as evidenced by Mugabe’s attack on the Mujurus’ ambitions.

The flavour of the moment is the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led faction, which suffered a major reversal of fortunes following the Tsolotsho incident in 2004. Now Mugabe, as part of a divide and rule tactic, is making this faction believe it is his preferred heir. It would be political folly for the Mnangagwa camp to derive a false sense of comfort from Mugabe’s political embrace. He will dump them as soon as they become a real threat and once he is secure again. Make no mistake, politics in Zimbabwe is about Mugabe and nothing else.

And Mugabe has his own faction fighting for his survival, in the top echelons of the army, the police and the intelligence services. It must be noted, however, that there are deep divisions within the middle and lower ranks of the uniformed forces which mirror the three factions in the party.

Two things are instructive as Zimbabweans ponder the way forward. The first of these is that the defeat of Mugabe’s 2010 project was delivered by forces for change within Zanu-PF and had little to do with pressure from the opposition or the international community. Secondly, the weakness of the opposition MDC, unfortunate as it is, removed an outside threat for Zanu-PF, focusing the party on internal dynamics and causing deep divisions and the realisation that Mugabe is the problem. This points to the fact that Zanu-PF’s internal dynamics might be key in finding a way out of Zimbabwe’s crisis and that the MDC might not be the place to look for relief. While this is an unpopular view it is a pragmatic one, informed by the current weakness of the MDC and the potential offered by reformers in the ruling party.

Equally important is the evidence that Zimbabwe’s problems are far bigger than Zanu-PF and the MDC put together. We need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that talks between the MDC and Zanu-PF will solve Zimbabwe’s problems. A durable solution requires getting a broad section of Zimbabweans talking to each other about their problems and structuring the future together. This is clearly not a winner-takes-all strategy, but a process of negotiating how Zimbabwe’s future is going to be ordered. For this project to have wider purchase, trade unions, the churches, business and all other civil society players will have to be involved..."

An outpost of tyranny


Amid his country’s economic ruin, Mugabe celebrated his birthday this year with a party that cost more than $2.3 million while most Zimbabweans are forced to skip meals. Oblivious to the suffering and poverty in his own country, Mugabe must be eons away from reality. I have to give him credit for being obstinate because he has never taken any responsibility for his country’s problems and he has never stopped blaming the West for the economic and political turmoil.

To call Mugabe, iron-willed is an understatement the more he is criticized the more stubborn he becomes. Leaders from neighboring countries like South Africa and Zambia and members of the African Union have tried to talk some sense into him but he’s not hearing it. Lately some African leaders have even taken to criticizing him, but that hasn’t worked either. Mugabe has steadfastly refused to step down and name a successor. He is flirting with disaster especially if he dies before his term ends, Zimbabwe could end up in a civil war.

‘African leaders run amok’ always create a power vacuum when they die because they share power with no one. They die and all of those simmering conflicts that were kept under control eventually erupt into some kind of violence. We’ve seen this scenario played out all over sub-Saharan Africa between ethnic groups, political parties and neighboring countries. The last thing the continent needs is another civil war. I truly hope this can be avoided because the only people who will suffer will be the Zimbabwean people and they’ve suffered enough under Mugabe’s rule..."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bloggers turn up the heat on Zim

Mugabe gives police license to kill

"...Police officers throughout Zimbabwe have now been authorised to use firearms against civilians whenever violence erupts on the streets. They have been told that if they shoot a civilian dead they will not face a murder charge....

Each police officer is to have a daily allocation of five rounds of ammunition, and stocks are sufficient for the entire Zimbabwe force.

"Authorities fear that if the police do not adopt a hard stance against the growing number of violent activities, the situation might get out of hand," said the source.

He referred to the petrol bombing last week of a crowded passenger train.."
Of course, the bad news is that the police lack training with such weapons, and there is no money for bullets, but the money part is easy to fix: They just print money.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Supermarket petrobombed in Harare

Unknown attackers hurled two petrol bombs at a supermarket in a suburb of the Zimbabwe capital Harare, causing structural damage but no injuries, the official Herald newspaper reported Monday.

The attack on Muchada Supermarket in Harare's low-income Warren Park suburb occurred late Saturday, the Herald said.

Three police stations have been attacked with petrol bombs since then, all blamed on suspected MDC activists. But unconfirmed reports have suggested that one of the incidents - which left two policewomen badly burned - may in fact have been caused by the explosion of a paraffin stove which the women were using to prepare a meal.

In another attack, five people were injured when a passenger train was petrol bombed in Harare on Friday night.

Criminals could also manipulate the situation to carry out criminal activities under the guise of political activity, the prominent church grouping has warned.

Police spokesman Bvudzijena said police have increased patrols in Harare's sprawling low-income suburbs and warned police would use firearms to deal with violent attacks.

"Police have increased patrols in most areas and we are now allowed to use firearms in cases of this nature," Bvudzijena was quoted as saying.

Zim opposition says bombings a ruse to hammer critics

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party on Monday accused the government of sponsoring recent acts of violence, including petrol-bombing incidences, to justify a major crackdown on the resurgent party.

The police have accused the MDC of leading a “militia-style” campaign of violence to topple President Robert Mugabe from power, charges the opposition party rejected.

“There is no reason why the MDC should target innocent civilians because we have chosen a non-violent struggle,” said Nelson Chamisa, spokesman of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.

“It is the government that is trying to provoke the people into anarchy. They are at the centre of this terrorism, it is state sponsored terrorism,” added Chamisa. ...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Memoirs of a former ZANU-PF Cadre

A long interview that tells the story of how one man joined to liberate his people, and what is going on now...too long for me to exerpt...

Mugabe cornered famine and fear


There are now unofficial police curfews in townships, with people being picked up and beaten, and lists at borders of MDC members and journalists.

The Government has instructed state hospitals not to admit MDC victims.

One of Mr Mugabe's strongest critics, the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, last week called on opponents of the Government not to be intimated.

"I am ready to stand in front," he said.

"We must be ready to stand, even in front of blazing guns. Starvation stalks our land and the Government does nothing."

Mr Coltart said: "This is no longer about the MDC and its political aspirations. We've had a total crop write-off in the south, where people were already living on the edge."

Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of southern Africa, but this will be the sixth consecutive year of food shortages since Mr Mugabe launched his program of seizing white-owned farms for distribution to landless blacks.

The World Food Program is now giving food aid to 1.5 million people - nearly 10 per cent of Zimbabwe's population.

The authorities have attributed the low yields to the long-running drought. But critics blame the farm seizures for the sharp decline in agricultural production. Only 100 to 200 white farmers are left on their farms, compared with 4000 in 2000.

Most farms are now in the hands of "cellphone" farmers, ruling party cronies who coveted the farmhouses for weekend getaways and have no real interest in farming. But there is no doubt that southern Zimbabwe has suffered a severe drought this year.

The state television service, ZBC, quoted Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo as saying..."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Zim doctor, human rights advocate sees Zim in free fall

....When he first learned of the crackdown, Gwatidzo said, he expected patients to begin streaming into his clinic that day, a Sunday. But it was not until two days later, Tuesday afternoon, that 64 bloodied protesters, including opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, came to the Avenues Clinic where he practices.

Each patient was guarded by two armed riot police officers, Gwatidzo said, and they insisted on entering the cubicle where Tsvangirai was being treated. "They were very aggressive and threatening, and demanded to be present during medical examination," Gwatidzo recalled.

But the doctor said no. "I will not examine any patient under duress," he told them. "If you truly believe he can disappear, you can take me instead."

The police relented, though tensions at the clinic remained high as more than 133 policemen carrying batons, pistols and shields packed an emergency room filled with the battered protesters.

Gwatidzo described the injuries: severe blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, ruptured bowel, fractures and extensive wounds from blows to the back, shoulders, buttocks and thighs. Twenty people were admitted to the hospital.

Tsvangirai, 55, had a long gash in his scalp and was delirious from loss of blood, Gwatidzo said.

Another activist, Grace Kwinje, 33, had deep lacerations and a torn right earlobe. Sekai Holland, 64, suffered multiple fractures from the beatings. The two opposition party members were later detained briefly at Harare airport, though bandaged and on stretchers, as they attempted to leave for treatment in South Africa.

The crisis had started in Highfield, a poor township near Harare where Mugabe's ruling party was founded in 1963 as an anti-colonial liberation movement. Police had cordoned off the area where residents, street traders and produce peddlers had come to gather.

As people arrived in the area for the political rally, they were rounded up and dragged off to police stations. When Tsvangirai, president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, followed them to inquire about the condition of his supporters, he was hurled to the floor and beaten. Truncheons, rubber batons and booted feet were the weapons of choice, Gwatidzo said....

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Review with Peter Moyo

On the 7th of March 2007, SW Radio Africa Producer/Presenter Lance Guma interviewed E-TV television producer Peter Moyo on Reporters’ Forum. Moyo was arrested in Mutare while filming illegal diamond mining and smuggling activities in Marange. He says from the evidence gathered the military and several senior government officials are heavily involved in the industry.

Lance: Welcome to the interview with journalist Peter Moyo, just a reminder he is the editor of and producer with e-TV in South Africa. Peter welcome to the programme once again.

Peter: How are you?

Lance: I’m okay, you have been involved in quite a lot regarding this diamond issue and it’s triggered quite a lot of international attention. The starting point for this week has to be why did you decide to investigate the diamond mining industry in Zimbabwe.

Peter: Okay, the real issue behind the diamond story comes from basically the South African side, you know. I think when I went to Zimbabwe I uncovered a lot of things, which were happening there, involving a lot of corrupt government officials. But then the initial phase started in South Africa when you are talking about the Kimberly process document and tear it apart and throw it in a rubbish bin. You know it doesn’t work at all, things are happening behind every ones back and everyone knows it, that is the funny thing.

I went to Messina, Messina is just a few kilometres from the Beitbridge border post, and in Messina what I found out was that many Zimbabweans were coming through either border jumping or through the border, coming through with a lot of diamonds. When I say lots of diamonds, I mean lots and lots of diamonds and they were selling them you know, they are border jumpers, they have come from the other side, you don’t know how much, you know, when these things were found out in Zimbabwe nobody knew what the price was, so they would come through the border, start selling them to dealers, certified dealers in Messina and basically what the South African dealers from this side, from the Messina side, where doing was, they offer you a very low amount, they were basically reaping these guys who were coming with clear diamonds and the other rough diamonds as well.

And they were paying them almost next to nothing, just because maybe the rand is worth something to a Zimbabwean, basically maybe gullible and sell it or maybe if they didn’t sell to South African dealers what would happen is that the South African dealer would find South African police to go and arrest that guy and then the South African police where involved in taking those diamonds go and sell them themselves to South African dealers or either when the Zimbabweans border jumpers comes to sell, names his price, the South African diamond dealer would give him whatever the money was and set up some police guides to go and catch him, take the money, bring it back and maybe the South African police will get a cut out of it, I don’t know, but that is basically what was happening, so it broke my heart.

That’s where I started the issue. I wanted to go buy diamonds in Messina myself, try and sell them to South African and I went and conducted an investigation and I managed to prove this was happening, but then, I also wanted to go to Zimbabwe, find out what was the situation in Zimbabwe because I believed there was a bigger story to tell in Zimbabwe. So that’s how basically I started and decided let me go into Zimbabwe and find out, what was happening as well.

Lance: Now Peter why were you convinced posing as a ZBC crew would get you through the roadblocks in Marange.

Peter: Because it is quite difficult, the issue is there is of course private press in Zimbabwe; you know the issue of getting the story outside. You cant get through government officials, the police in Zimbabwe, if you are not from the state broadcaster, somebody aligned within the ruling party or something like that its another matter of who knows who and who is who. We had to find a way of going around it, that was to use a ZBC cameramen knowing that they are paid peanuts. That side they could get me what I wanted, because at the end of the day if you want a story, sometimes you have to dine with devil to get the story. But as long as you are bale to bring the true story, which is more than the cost of dining with these guys.

Lance: As you went through the diamond fields, posing as a ZBC film crew, where you not scared at any point, for your safety.

Peter: You know if you are determined, they always say, if you are determined to get a story, sometimes you get the shivers up you spine after. You get the after effect and basically I believe that is what happened. There was more to do with getting the story out, getting what was happening in Zimbabwe out in the diamond industry. I went through that. I think the only time. I felt unsafe when I got to the Marange diamond field. We get there, we see all these CIO’s, we see all these CID’s, we see all these soldiers, these police guys, they are all there menacing, looking at us like something else, basically that’s where I got the shivers. But then I never put it in my mind that I would ever be found out, that they would catch me at that time, I never put it in my mind, I think it was a consolation at the end of the day, so that is what got me through the way.

Lance: Lets get to the story here, what exactly did you see that you think could be the reason everything is secretive in Marange. What’s happening there?

Peter: What basically I saw, I think it starts with the police themselves, when I was speaking to guys in jail, when we slept in jail, these guys where saying you know what we had so much diamonds and the police have managed to confiscate them and not arrested us, this time we were just unlucky. When you confiscate something and you don’t put any record to it, it means the police were basically taking these things and selling them, then when we went through Marange, now when we drove through to Marange, What I managed to see where basically maybe police who were ready to say, you know what, you guys if have something, if you get something inside Marange you can pass through this roadblock, don’t worry you can just leave something for us and we will not arrest you, we will get you out of the way.

And when we went through the Marange diamond area, you know this is the most secure area, then you find digging, this is the most secure area, the place where they are concentrated diamonds, that is like the richest place in Zimbabwe, as far as diamonds are concerned. And so there are guys as I realized later, government officials who are already pegging areas, or businessmen who are linked to the party, already pegging the area. The area is already pegged, meaning they are mining claims already pegged in the area, is already being fenced, meaning these guys are already claiming certain areas and its definitely not those downtrodden poverty stricken villagers from Marange.

It’s powerful guys within the government and as you have realised if you find out if you find out, right now the Vice Presidents husband is very much involved in Marange, very much involved in Beitbridge as well, and when we went through finding all those diggings in an area which is already secured and these diggings were fresh, some where not even 1 hour old, but here were fresh diggings in these areas meaning there were some people who are definitely within the forces, who are guarding the area, there are some people who definitely plundering the place.

Lance: So it’s a case of who will guard the guards because the guards themselves seem to be also doing the digging.

Peter: Yes definitely.

Lance: Is this wealth that is being collected from this area, is this going through government channels, did you get any information on how its being marketed or how its being exported?

Peter: What we found out is that the MMCZ has been involved and as you will see sometime later in my footage, which I found out somewhere, you will find that these guys, when these diamonds where found in Marange last year in October, villagers were able to dig and get whatever they could get and MMCZ was driving around with a Fawcett car full of cash and buying these diamonds in the area during that time and they were buying them for a song. They were basically reaping these guys off, these villagers who didn’t know how much these things cost.

They were basically reaping them off whereas a clear diamond for a carat you get US800, what we found was that they were getting these diamonds at around Z$20 000 last year. A clear diamond which is about 10 or 20 carats. Its channelled through government through the MMCZ and through the RBZ. But as you know with the furore over the Nhara issue these guys are taking them out in pockets and going and selling them. We have situations where high profile government officials who are coming and selling to South African dealers, basically they don’t get searched at airports, they get out with these things as you will find out later in my story.

You will find there are powerful guys in Borrowdale who buy from government officials, you see and these are well known, they actually smuggle them out of the country because in the country you cant get a lucrative deal through the Reserve bank or MMCZ, so they basically transport them out of the country whether in suit cases or like what Nhara was doing. I don’t believe it’s the first time he was doing that, where they just put in their pockets and pass through the whole system, or if it is by road, you can just put in your car or wherever and pass through the border. There is no searching, nothing.

And when these things come into South Africa they are not certified, they are not even coming from certified dealers, but then they are sold to South African dealers who are certified and when they are sold to South African dealers with certificates, they are put through the normal process and then now its like the Kimberly process has not been flouted, everything is hunky-dory and diamonds are coming from any mine in South Africa. So this guy is bringing his diamonds through the diamond centre from a South African mine meanwhile half of his stock or three quarters is coming from Zimbabwe and at cheap prices.

Lance: Right Peter we are running out of time, but could you just maybe describe your arrest to us. How did you get arrested?

Peter: You mean in Mutare?

Lance: Yes in Mutare

Peter: The guys came early in the morning, we had finished filming, we had done Marange that Sunday, early in the morning Monday we were going to do some GB’s (general beauty shots) of Mutare and then finish our job. And then early in the morning around 7 to 8 thereabouts just an hour before we were about to knock off 3 CID guys came in with the cameraman William Gumbo and Courage Gumboseka or something like that and then these guys managed to identify themselves as guys from the CID minerals side, saying that I was a diamond dealer.

And then I told them I’m not a diamond dealer then they said they wanted to search, so they started searching the whole house, I gave them access, they started searching my hotel room after they decided, they cant find anything so they were going to take everything including camera equipment, which at that time they said, they were going to take everything and they put everything in the car an they were so agitated they thought that they were going to find diamonds. I think it was an issue of, if we find him with diamonds then there is a more serious case than to charge him under the accreditation issue, which elicits a Z$40000 fine if you are a first offender.

We drove to the Police Station, they search again, they found nothing and then they decided, okay what are you doing with cameras, then I said, I’m on holiday, so I’m taking memories back home, so they put us in a room, spent the whole day, refusing me access to the phone, they took my phone everything, they didn’t want me to do anything, to phone anyone, so they spent the whole day holding us in this room, not knowing what they were going to do with us, so around 4-5pm when a lawyer came around, asked them, are you charging these guys or not, otherwise release them, because they had also refused us to even phone my employer or even phone a lawyer, this guy came by chance and then now that’s when they said we are charging you under AIPPA, you are practising as a journalist or whatsoever and now it was late for them to release us and take us into court, I think that is what they had been waiting for and they decided they were going to close us in cells.

Lance: Peter, a lot of interest surrounds the footage, what has happened to that?

Peter: The footage was confiscated in Zimbabwe, we managed to apply to the courts to have it released, so that the lawyer could see the evidence and evaluate it. The order was given and the lawyer was sable to get copies. I believe the lawyers have some of the copies, but the other ones are being used against Andrew Nyashamba who is being charged for abusing public office.

Lance: Well Peter its been a pleasure having you on Reporters Forum.

Peter: It’s always a pleasure.


Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mugabe thanks China for their support

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe thanked China on Thursday for supporting his country against Western critics amid signs of growing fatigue in Africa over the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.....

Several of Zimbabwe's traditionally closest allies have ventured measured criticism of the action, including the African Union and Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa, who this week compared Zimbabwe to a "sinking Titanic".

Zimbabwean Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu sought to stem African criticism on Thursday, saying "African countries must not allow themselves to be divided by imperialism".

"Western news networks are demonising Zimbabwe, giving a one-sided perspective," he complained.

The international community has urged Zimbabwe's neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to try to broker a resolution to the crisis in Zimbabwe but a meeting of SADC Council of Ministers in Lesotho on Thursday steered clear of the issue...

Life of a Zim constable


When he joined the force 12 years ago, his duties covered routine street patrols and crime prevention. Today he only leaves barracks to take part in police actions, beating and arresting peaceful demonstrators. And many of those he assaults and threatens are his neighbours, friends, relatives, even close members of his own family.

"I am in a Catch 22 situation," he tells me, when we met in a small drinking club in the suburb of Makokoba. "People are very angry with us. They accuse us of being Mugabe's dogs. But we have to carry out our orders."...

"Who are you frightened of - the police or the local people?" I ask him.

"Both," he says, going on to recount how his unit roughly arrested a heavily pregnant woman caught up in a demonstration a month ago. The woman went into labour in the charge room, and is only now recovering in hospital. Her son is not expected to live.

Constable Dube has other problems. His wife Betty is a staunch supporter of the opposition MDC party

Zimbabwe continues to unravel

The situation in Zimbabwe continues to unravel.

Aging dictator Robert Mugabe is facing increased opposition due to the violent breakup of a prayer meeting last week. Those arrested were beaten badly, leading to many opposition leaders being emboldened and united, while western countries are discussing increased sanctions. Opposition leaders now have a face in opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, and Archbishop Ncube is urging churches to continue peaceful resistance even if the regeime responds violently against them.
Mugabe’s own party has some who oppose him, since his decision to run for another term while not designating a successor has made it impossible for others to seek to succeed him.

However, Mugabe’s Marxist credentials and credentials as a liberator have gained him protection from South Africa’s Mbeki despite pressure from the 2 million Zimbabwe refugees in that country, and pressure from South African churches and trade unions. Ex president Kaunda of Zambia, who had been removed from his own presidency for corruption, laments from exile that the West has no right to criticize Mugabe.

In the meanwhile, Angola, whose communist government had long been propped up by Cuban mercenaries, is sending 1000 elite police to assist in the crackdown, reinforcing Zimbabwean police who have been losing members due to poor pay. In addition, ZANU-PF’s trained youth militia AKA the “green bombers” continue to intimidate rural areas, and were involved in the beating of 14 activists on TuesdayLINK
Although this is in an African setting, the picture is all to familiar to those who study the sad history of communism and other dictatorships in the twentieth century.

What we see is what bluntly must be seen as communist true believers helping each other because their belief in Marxism outweighs other considerations. That is why Mugabe could bring in North Korea to train soldiers to destroy the “opposition” of the Ndebele tribe in the 1980’s with little outcry, and why Marxist leaders of Angola, Mozambique and South Africa hesitate to intervene. These presidents are still remembering the “us versus evil colonialist” struggle, ignoring the fact that their rise to power was helped by others, especially in South Africa.

Ironically, like the man who had one devil thrown out of him only to have seven devils return, this ideological blind spot ignores that the real alternative for their people is a free democratic state. Whether democracy can be grafted onto a tribal African culture is questionable, but given the large educated population of Zimbabwe, (many of whom have fled elsewhere for jobs) this argument may not be accurate.

However, if Mugabe is to be removed, South Africa will have to do it, either by applying pressure or by armed intervention.
The fact that Angola is sending that armed intervention in the guise of police paramilitaries to prop up the crumbling Mugabe government suggests that the good old boys network of Marxism is still alive and well, and the failure of Mbeki to even pressure the government suggests that ideological solidarity is more important than people’s lives.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket and she blogs about Zimbabwe on MugabeMakaipaBlog

Sekai Holland allowed to receive medical care

The good news: The Supreme Court has ordered Sekai Holland is free to obtain medical care in South Africa for her injuries. With the help of the Australian consul (Mrs. Holland is married to an Australian) she has been air evacuated to Johanesburg, along with Mrs. Kinje, who was also injured.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Growing condemnation for Mugabe's regieme

....Mugabe, however, still controls the guns.

Forging a new internal Zimbabwean political consensus is absolutely vital, not only for Zimbabwe but for the rest of southern Africa. A civil war in Zimbabwe will have tribal overtones, with Mugabe's dominant Shona tribe likely providing the core of "pro-Mugabe" fighters. The Congo provides a bitter example: In sub-Saharan Africa, tribal wars all too easily spill over borders, which risks regional war. Wars in developing nations quickly erase decades of economic progress. ...

African Blogosphere on Zimbabwe

Vatican podcast on violence in Zimbabwe

Vatican radio has podcasts of their news, and the link is the MP3 of a report about the situation in Zimbabwe.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Whoops I'm blocked in China

Guess they don't like Blogger...or my posts on China

Mugabe crony travels to europe despite being banned

Edward Chindori-Chininga, one of more than 100 Mugabe regime figures banned from traveling to the EU was observed slipping out of Brussels. He received a visa simply by omitting his middle name on the application, according to the Telegraph.

So much for the efficiency of Belgian intelligence in screening air passengers...

Opposition claims Mugabe hiring hit sqads

ZIMBABWE'S President Robert Mugabe is using "hit squads" to crack down on opposition politicians and activists, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai said in an interview published today.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Tsvangirai said: "Instead of random beatings at police stations, (Mugabe) is now using hit squads, unidentified men, unidentified vehicles."...

"Mugabe is a violent man and he doesn't hide it, especially where his power is threatened ... No excuses, no regrets, the defiance epitomises his attitude."

The country's Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, however, denied Mr Tsvangirai's allegations, saying bluntly: "It is a flat lie."

"He and his group are the people who started the whole process in defiance of the government's order not to hold a rally at a specific place," Mutasa was quoted by the Telegraph as saying.

Opposition to 83-year-old Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, has been steadily mounting amid an economic meltdown with inflation standing at 1730 percent and four out of five people out of work.


I am worried about Mugabe's goons (i.e. the youth militia) but tell you the truth, if Mugabe wanted them dead, they'd be if he's hiring hit squads, he needs lessons from here...

Mugabe police quitting?

obert Mugabe's police force, one of the mainstays of his power base in Zimbabwe, may be turning against him. Today, 10 senior police officers - seven superintendents and three inspectors - went into hiding after being suspected of arming the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) with tear gas grenades.

The tear gas was allegedly used by MDC activists during the recent violent protests that rocked Harare. Mugabe's dreaded spy agency, the Criminal Investigation Organisation (CIO), has launched a probe into how the tear-gas "found its way into the wrong hands."

The 10 officers under suspicion were expected to report for duty at 8am today at stations in central Harare, Marimba and Highfield, but failed to appear. All are known to have access to the police armoury...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Zimpundit interviewed at Pajamasmedia


PJM: What happens next in Zimbabwe?

Zimpundit: This crisis continues while the world watches. With no oil, or "national security" interest for western powerhouses like the US, Zimbabweans are on their own as they continue to bear the brunt of the leadership’s poor choices.

South Africa, our biggest trade partner won’t intervene either because Mbeki considers Mugabe one of his own or because he’s enviously hatching plans to carry out his own atrocities, or both.

Zimbabweans must find it in themselves to negotiate a way out of the present situation. It will take more lives, it will take more suffering, it will take more pain, but we have no other choice.

The MDC leadership will be released with no charges because the state has no case against them. I suspect, having been brutalized once, both Mutambara and Tsvangirai will be out again urging people stand up against the cruel regime. And they’ll both have stronger credibility.

Because of their visible wounds and the fact that they have sacrificed their own bodies and led by example, more people will listen to them. Their wounds and tales of brutality have the potential to spell an end to ZANU-PF’s tyranny. If the government thinks they are going to get the MDC to back down, they have a surprise coming.

PJM: Are there any red lines left?

Zimpundit: The only thing remaining to happen is a public ground swell of people refusing to stand the oppression any longer. Zimbabweans have been pushed long enough, they’ve suffered long enough, all that remains is that their anguish be channeled toward one central place.

Sooner rather than later, there will be an out pouring of rage against the oppression. The economy has yet to grind to a complete stop. Keep in mind that it was the Tsvangirai led crowds that stoppped the nation in its tracks back in 1998 protesting against the cost of living. History has a funny way of repeating itself....

Is there anyone worse than Mugabe?

"...The media is often criticized for reporting only bad news from Africa. It’s sometimes a legitimate criticism but, then again, when you have people like Robert Mugabe running things in Africa what is the media suppose to do? Things are so bad in Zimbabwe that it is almost incomprehensible. Mugabe may not be Hitler, he may not even be Saddam Hussein, but he is without a doubt one of the worst human beings on the planet and he has been that way for a very long time. He may have had good intentions thirty years ago, he may have even had good intentions twenty or twenty-five years ago, but his current intentions clearly do not serve the vast majority of people in Zimbabwe and they haven’t severed the people of Zimbabwe, or the people of Africa, for a very long time.

Mugabe is a cancer. He is one of the biggest reasons why most of the news reported from Africa is bad news—another reason is because the giants on the continent, people like South African president Thabo Mbeki, refuse to speak out against Mugabe."

Actually at least the press speaks out about Mugabe. They are silent about the wars in Central Africa, and ignored the wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia (and Sudan) for years.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Africa looks east

Long article about China's growing influence, implying that the West is losing influence and it's up to China to use it's influence for human rights...overlooking the fact that the way China got it's influence with Zim and Sudan is that they ignore corruption and genocide.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Saving the one

An article that explains why people can ignore reports of genocide, but respond to appeals to help just one person. Well, that makes sense. Who can stop a genocide? But we can help one person. And if enough people help just one person, things can improve.

Specifically, it is our inability to comprehend numbers and relate them to mass human tragedy that stifles our ability to act. It’s not that we are insensitive to the suffering of our fellow human beings. In fact, the opposite is true. Just look at the extraordinary efforts people expend to rescue someone in distress, such as an injured mountain climber. It’s not that we only care about victims we identify with—those of similar skin color, or those who live near us: Witness the outpouring of aid to victims of the December 2004 tsunami. Yet, despite many brief episodes of generosity and compassion, the catalogue of genocide—the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur—continues to grow. The repeated failure to respond to such atrocities raises the question of whether there is a fundamental deficiency in our humanity: a deficiency that—once identified—could be overcome.

The psychological mechanism that may play a role in many, if not all, episodes in which mass murder is neglected involves what’s known as the “dance of affect and reason” in decision-making. Affect is our ability to sense immediately whether something is good or bad. But the problem of numbing arises when these positive and negative feelings combine with reasoned analysis to guide our judgments, decisions, and actions. Psychologists have found that the statistics of mass murder or genocide—no matter how large the numbers—do not convey the true meaning of such atrocities. The numbers fail to trigger the affective emotion or feeling required to motivate action. In other words, we know that genocide in Darfur is real, but we do not “feel” that reality. In fact, not only do we fail to grasp the gravity of the statistics, but the numbers themselves may actually hinder the psychological processes required to prompt action.

Youth flee training camps

another older article from 2003 about the "youth training camps" that are indoctrinating youth to become terrorists. below is an excerpt

Hundreds of Zimbabwe's "green bombers", militiamen trained to murder and harass President Robert Mugabe's political opponents, have fled to South Africa claiming they have been beaten and starved.

The green bombers, named after the colour of their fatigues, have been blamed for the murders of dozens of officials of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Aid agency workers and human rights groups said the militia was organised to spread terror in rural Zimbabwe. Many of those who fled to South Africa said they were coerced into joining President Mugabe's youth training scheme, while others were lured by promises of regular pay and food.

At four training camps they were indoctrinated with the propaganda of the ruling ZANU-PF party and taught how to kill and maim. "We were told we had to hunt down all MDC people in the villages and given training in frightening them," said "Luke", 15, from Matabeleland, who fled last month. "Sometimes we were given names of people and told to torture and even kill them. We were trained to hurt and kill people who did not support ZANU-PF."

Luke, who was unwilling to give his real name to protect his family, said he joined the training scheme after being promised money and food. But he said: "We were beaten by our instructors and forced to share one small bowl of food among many," he said.

South African newspapers reported that another youth had fled after being forced to take part in the murder of his uncle, an MDC supporter. Another said he was part of a large group instructed to terrorise a village suspected of being sympathetic to the MDC just before a visit by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, Mr Mugabe's propaganda chief.

Johannesburg's Sunday Independent reported that the green bombers were given alcohol and marijuana before being sent on killing missions "because then you will feel nothing for anyone".

Mugabe's "green bombers": using youth to terrorize opponents

a list of archived articles at Free Republic, a right wing US political site

Mugabe tells ZANU PF youths to fight back ^

Posted by Clive
On News/Activism ^ 07/18/2005 5:47:46 PM CDT · 8 replies · 196+ views

Zim Online ^ | 2005-07-18
Mugabe tells ZANU PF youths to fight back Mon 18 July 2005 MASHONALAND WEST -- President Robert Mugabe at the weekend urged youths of his ruling ZANU PF party to fight back should the opposition become violent. Addressing about 10,000 supporters at Mwami rural business centre, about 240 km north-west of Harare, Mugabe said he could not fathom ZANU PF youths losing in a violent confrontation against their rivals from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party. "There is no way I can take it that some of the ZANU PF youths can be beaten by those from...

Zimbabwe: Youth service to be made mandatory (Mugabe’s military indoctrination camps growing) ^

Posted by dead
On News/Activism ^ 05/04/2005 9:51:31 AM CDT · 13 replies · 364+ views ^ | Last updated: 05/03/2005 21:03:13 | Staff Reporter
THE government said on Tuesday it plans to make its controversial national service programme mandatory for students at all educational institutions from primary schools to universities. State radio said deputy youth minister Savior Kasukuwere toured a training camp for youth militia and said the government is determined to introduce national service that would give all Zimbabwean youths "proper orientation." A BBC film accused President Mugabe of turning youths into political zombies Human rights groups, opposition politicians and some Western governments accuse the government's youth militia, known as the "green bombers" because of their military style uniforms, of being at...

Zimbabwe -- Youths risk thinking like Mugabe, Tekere warns ^

Posted by Clive
On News/Activism ^ 12/14/2002 5:52:15 PM CST · 9 replies · 1+ view

Zimbabwe Standard ^ | December 14, 2002 | Itai Dzamara
VETERAN nationalist and former secretary-general of the ruling Zanu PF party, Edgar Tekere, says parents should not permit their children to undergo the discredited national youth service because they may end up thinking like President Mugabe. Tekere, the pioneer of opposition politics after independence, was unequivocal in expressing his disgust over the national youth service programme which is being run under the ministry of youth, gender and employment creation . "Although it is an accepted idea internationally, in our case one Border Gezi (the late minister for gender and employment creation) thought of seizing the opportunity to brainwash youths into...

Zimbabwe -- Mugabe forces youth into militia ^

Posted by Clive
On News/Activism ^ 07/02/2002 6:55:54 AM CDT · 7 replies

SAPA-AP via SABC News (SA) | July 2, 2002
Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, plans to make service in his youth militia a prerequisite for high school graduates entering college or the job market, reports said today. The youth militias, aligned with Mugabe's ruling party, were involved in brutal attacks on the opposition during presidential elections in March, human rights groups said. The move is viewed by observers in Zimbabwe as part of Mugabe's efforts to encourage its minority white and Indian populations to leave the country. Mugabe's critics say he has been exacerbating racial tensions in the country in order to deflect attention from the nation's crumbling...

Mugabe moves to indoctrinate Zimbabwe's youth ^

Posted by Arkle
On News/Activism ^ 01/28/2002 9:15:04 AM CST · 2 replies · 168+ views

Ananova ^ | 01/28/02
Zimbabwe is to make youth service training and indoctrination compulsory. Theopposition claims it is an attempt to create a private army. State radio says all high school graduates will have to undergo youth training in government centres to instill them with "patriotism" and what it described as an unbiased understanding of the country's history. Because of high unemployment, many youngsters have volunteered to join the national youth service where they are paid, fed, and clothed. After almost 22 years in power, President Robert Mugabe, 77, is making every effort to stay in office ahead of forthcoming presidential elections. His ...

Mugabe arrests opponents being air evacuated to SA hospital

Sekai Holland in her hospital bed.

The second photo is Grace Kwinje's bruses.

These women were prevented from being evacuated by air
ambulance to South Africa

The Photos are from Zimfinalpushblog...



Arthur Mutambara, head of a faction of the Zimbabwean opposition group Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested at Harare International Airport as he was trying to leave for South Africa, said Roy Bennett, the movement‘s exiled treasurer-general.

"We are not sure why they were arrested. Tensions are very high," Bennett said.

He said the ambulance carrying the women from a clinic in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, to the airport, where they were to leave in a medical rescue aircraft, was stopped on the tarmac by officers from Zimbabwe‘s security forces.

"That the Zimbabwean government now resorts to arresting people in ambulances in clear need of specialist care, is an indication of the repressive lengths they‘re prepared to go," said Mutasah, adding lawyers for the women were trying to get a court order to allow them to receive treatment...."


Furthur information is found here

....Arthur Mutambara, head of a faction of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested by police at Harare International Airport as he was leaving for South Africa, said Roy Bennett, the movement's exiled treasurer-general.

Also arrested in a separate incident were Grace Kwinje and Sekai Holland, who were to receive specialized medical treatment in South Africa, he said....

The women's passports were taken and they were told they needed a clearance certificate from the Department of Health. They were then instructed to go to Harare's central police station but were later allowed to return to the clinic under police guard.

"That the Zimbabwean government now resorts to arresting people in ambulances in clear need of specialist care, is an indication of the repressive lengths they're prepared to go," said Mutasah, adding that lawyers for the women were trying to get a court order to allow them to receive treatment.

Bennett also said that, according to reports from Harare, police took the body of Gift Tandare, an activist shot dead by police, and performed their own burial.

Tandare's father was forced to release his son's body into police custody while family were preparing for the funeral, he said.


Mugabe speaks to youth group

Mugabe continues to cling to power in today's Observer article. Even people in his own party are turning against him. But his police still terrorize people....And he has given speeches inciting his youth groups.

....A defiant Mugabe retorted that his police will 'hit harder' and threatened to expel Western diplomats, in a speech last Friday. Exposing his growing isolation, he admitted that members of his own Zanu-PF party were plotting against him.

Mugabe blamed the opposition for instigating the violence. Speaking to the youth wing of Zanu-PF, he lambasted critical Western diplomats.

'We will kick them out of this country,' said Mugabe, according to the French news agency AFP. 'I have asked the minister of foreign affairs to summon them and read the riot act to them. We shall tell the ambassadors that this is not a country which is a piece of Europe.'

Mugabe also warned the opposition against anti-government demonstrations. 'If they do it again, we will bash them again,' he said. Mugabe said that, because of attacks on policemen, all officers, including traffic police, would now be fully armed.

'We are under a state of emergency: it would just be a waste of breath for Mugabe to declare it,' said political science lecturer John Makumbe. 'We are seeing police beating people in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo, Kwekwe. It has spread all over the country.'

Makumbe said police were breaking up groups of people on the street: 'Even people walking to church are harassed. Nightclubs are closing because no one will go out after dark.' He warned that tensions were rising and the opposition was more united and determined.

'There is a risk of more violence. People are saying the difference between dying quietly in our houses and dying on the streets is the same. Only negotiations can defuse the situation. In Zimbabwe, we are pressing for a transitional period and a new constitution leading to free and fair elections. The international community must support that, especially Africa.'

Youth gangs trained to terrorize people

In Germany, Hitler allowed young men called the "brown shirts" to terrorize Jews and Christian groups opposing him.
In Ruanda it was these trained gangs of youth who did most of the killing.

The danger in Zimbabwe is that Mugabe will use them as a "last resort" to terrorize people, especially if the police or military start backing a coup.

Here is an old article on a church webpage from a group who visited Zim to make a film using the disguise of golfers...I'll post the parts about the gangs.

There is still a tendency to attribute state-sanctioned illegality, of which land seizures form a tiny proportion, to so-called war veterans. The real thugs are the young men (and some women) now being trained in the youth camps. This is a sinister and horrible phenomenon. As I understand it they are a development only of the last 18 months at most.

You can see these Green Bombers in every town. In their early twenties, they wear heavy boots and combat fatigues. They are responsible for a growing proportion of the killings, rapes and gratuitous violence aimed at the MDC opposition. They are on the road blocks and control the illegal supply of mealie meal, making giant profits

Effectively the Green Bombers form a private Zanu-PF army. Young people wishing to attend higher education are required to spend six months in youth camps. There they are indoctrinated in Zanu-PF ideology and taught to hate the MDC. They learn the techniques of state terrorism. They get access to food, status, money and (because rape goes unpunished) sex. They are told to inform against their parents and punished if they fail to do so.

Mugabe is directing his enmity inwards, against his own people, while in the 1930s Nazi aggression went outwards as well. Members of the government are beginning to talk the language of ethnic cleansing. This is what Didymus Mutasa, Zanu-PF organising secretary and a member of Robert Mugabe's politburo, said last August: 'We would be better off with only six million people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra people.' The population of Zimbabwe is now about 12 million.

Already a mild form of genocide is under way: the constant attrition of state murder, the deliberate starvation of great masses of the people, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of farm workers to remote and inhospitable camps. The ingredients are nearly all in place for something altogether larger and more tragic. ...

Mugabe says colleagues plotting with the West

HARARE — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe accused officials in his ruling ZANU-PF party yesterday of plotting against him with the help of Western countries he says are sabotaging the country's economy.

The veteran leader — whose government this week caused international outrage after opposition leaders said they were tortured in police detention — said imperialists were taking advantage of the ZANU-PF succession to re-assert themselves.

"There has been an insidious dimension where ambitious leaders have been cutting deals with the British and Americans," Mr. Mugabe told a meeting of ZANU-PF's youth league in Harare.
"The whole succession debate has given imperialism hope for re-entry. Since when have the British, the Americans been friends of ZANU-PF? Have we forgotten that imperialism can never mean well for our people?"

Mr. Mugabe's current six-year term ends in 2008, but the ruling party last December circulated a motion to hold presidential elections in 2010 when the parliamentary vote is due.

This was viewed as a move to extend Mr. Mugabe's rule but has drawn resistance from some senior members of ZANU-PF, while the opposition has said it would launch peaceful mass protests to block the move.....

Apologists for the devil

"...What is going on in Zimbabwe that has brought the western media out in full force? The stories being bandied about and manipulated by the media seem to be focusing on some claims of abuse to Morgan Tsvangirai. According to articles in the media, the opposition party MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai has been operating to take down the current government of Zimbabwe for some time. As far back as 2000, Tsvangirai was threatening violence against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. These are calculated activities taking place in Zimbabwe on an ongoing basis.

It is reported in the media that Tsvangirai's MDC faction had already made a pledge to organize mass civil disobedience for some time. Other opposition groups, who have ties to the Christian Alliance that spearheads the Save Zimbabwe Campaign with the same agenda - to stop the land seizures being implemented and to remove President Robert Mugabe's government - have been staging protests relentlessly (Save Zimbabwe Campaign's Effectiveness and Viability In Question 30 November 2006).

Why all the attention on this particular protest? It can be argued that the excessive media attention is focusing on the opposition leader being injured in what appears to be a violent confrontation with the police. But this is not what we are getting via the media reports that have already declared human rights abuses at the hands of the government. Protests staged in any country often invite violence to later claim suppression and brutalization. Rarely do these worldwide protests receive the amount of media attention glaring on this recent protest in Zimbabwe except when there is a U.S./European backed attempt at 'regime change' in a country...."

Tutu blasts Mugabe

"....The assault on the opposition leader provoked an outraged response from around the world and appears to have reunited a fractured opposition in the crisis-stricken country.

However, the chorus of disapproval has not been heard in neighbouring South Africa, where the Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu strongly rebuked African leaders yesterday for their failure to rein in Robert Mugabe.

"We Africans should hang our heads in shame," said Dr Tutu of the largely lukewarm response from African leaders, who have hitherto given Mr Mugabe a lifeline despite his ever escalating human rights abuses. Dr Tutu, who together with Nelson Mandela is widely regarded as South Africa's moral conscience, asked in a statement yesterday. "How can what is happening in Zimbabwe elicit hardly a word of concern let alone condemnation from us leaders of Africa?" The bishop, who once described Mr Mugabe as either "mentally deranged" or "a cartoon figure of an archetypal African dictator," said all leaders in Africa should condemn the Zimbabwe government. Dr Tutu seemed to have been particularly angered by the South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has not commented on this week's turmoil in Zimbabwe.

Mr Mbeki seems to have delegated his deputy foreign minister, Aziz Pahad, to comment on the matter. Mr Pahad has issued one statement which infuriated the local media by its call on Zimbabwe's opposition to help in creating an environment conducive to dialogue. Although the statement also urged the Zimbabwe government to restore the rule of law, it was considered a very lukewarm response.

Mr Mandela said in a statement to The Independent that he was concerned by the situation and hoped that African institutions would help resolve it....

Although Africa's response is still largely fragmented and South Africa, which has the most leverage to rein in Mugabe, has not said anything substantial, it seemed more countries were now breaking ranks with Mugabe.

After the Ghanaian President, John Kufuor, described the Zimbabwe situation as "embarrassing" to Africa, Mozambique, one of Mugabe's staunchest allies since the 1970s independence war from Britain, said Mr Mugabe should ensure a more open society to allow Zimbabweans to discuss their differences..."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Austin Bay reports


Since 2000, StrategyPage has followed Zimbabwe’s decline– here’s the most recent StrategyPage post. (March 14). This one from January 2007 is also useful.

I’ve written several columns — this one is representative. (From February 2002.)
This morning’s Times OnLine has a Ben Macintyre essay that wonders if Mugabe’s close to a tipping point.

Key graf:

For Mugabe, the symbolic image that marks the end may be the photograph of Tsvangirai, emerging from police captivity, head gashed and face swollen, and his wrist broken. Violent suppression of dissent is routine in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. What makes this incident special is the sheer incompetence with which it was inflicted. This was meant to be another obvious warning to Mugabe’s enemies; instead, it has surely emboldened them.

Macintyre is refering to the brutal beating of Morgan Tsvangirai, a leader in Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Changes (MDC — the main opposition group)....

This StrategyPage post from 2006 provides economic background –rather ismal economic background. It discusses Zimbabwe’s currency exchange program....

Blogstorm please

Put a Zim post on your blog and make Technoranti take note...
and write an Email if you have time...

MiellaMilloBlog suggests:

I will ask all friends of southern Africa to send this bulletin to Zimbabwe embassy in Stockholm by e-mail:

To Her Excellency Ms Mary Sibusisiwe MUBI
Ambassador Extra-ordinary and Plenipotentiary,

I am deeply concerned about the latest news from Zimbabwe about the mistreatment of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and other activists. Other leaders, including Tendai Biti, the Secretary General of the Tsvangirai-led MDC; Grace Kwinje, the Party's Deputy Secretary for International Relations; and Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the MDC, have according to reports also sustained severe injuries while in police custody.

I call for all detainees who engaged in non-violent protest to be released immediately. I also call for an investigation into the killing of Gift Tandare.

Friday, March 16, 2007

News summary on Zim

The latest news is that the repression of opposition leaders is continuing in Zimbabwe.

The latest atrocity was the shooting of two activists at the funeral of Gift Tandare, who was killed by police at last week's prayer rally.

The government also raided the offices of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), confiscated some pamphlets and beat four office workers.

Other news is that two police stationswere petrol bombed, leading to the injury of several police officers. One of the bombings was in the working class suburb of Harare, another in Gweru, a midland city.

In Kwe Kwe, police arrested the entire leadership of the MDC just before the start of an anti government rally, where according to an MDC spokesman, they were badly beaten.

This follows the arrest of the mayor of Gweru and others at the start of a protest there on Tuesday.

Whereas up to now, opposition to the regeime has been fragmented and sporadic, with the increasing collapse of the economy and lack of basic commodities, those who have not fled the country are starting to show their opposition despite the threats of arrest or worse.

As Zimpundit said in a BBC interview: "The last two weeks have been absolutely horrendous for this regime. They are now faced with a reality they never thought they'd face; people willingly walking into the paths of their vicious police. Now that they've tortured the MDC leadership this early in the game, the government has ironically upped the proverbial ante. Tsvangirai and Mutambara have nothing left to fear having been deep into the dredges of Zimbabwe's hellish torture system and come back from resolute to continue with their protest for a better Zimbabwe. In the past, people feared public demonstrations because they felt they were being used as political pawns by leaders who didn't want to endure the the wrath of the police on their own. Tsvangirai and Mutambara have, because of this incident gained more credibility with people. Look for this incident to spawn of more the same kind of protest. "

South African: Stop interfering

Summary: South African govt spokesman whine: What do you want us to do, go in with tanks. Boo hoo we can't do that.

Zim answers: Why don't you just stop propping up the Mugabe government? If you stopped that, things micht change.

Police shoot two activists at funeral

"Two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists were shot at point blank this morning at the funeral of Gift Tandare in Glen View," the Save Zimbabwe Campaign said in a statement.

"The police said they were making a noise and a commotion ensued. Then the police shot at the activists," Save Zimbabwe Campaign spokesman Jacob Mafume said.

Tandare, a local party chairman in Glen View, was fatally shot by a police officer on Sunday when police crushed an anti-government rally called by a coalition of opposition, church and rights groups.

"Nickson Maganda and Naison Mashambanhaka were in a group of mourners consoling the Tandare family. The two are recuperating in hospital."

Two office staffers at the ZCTU were beaten up by a team of detectives who raided the offices in central Harare and seized flyers calling for a job boycott to protest deteriorating living standards in Zimbabwe, the labour body's spokeswoman said.

"Six police officers armed with pistols raided our offices and beat up four office staff accusing them of hiding flyers calling for the stayaway," Khumbulani Ndlovu told AFP.

"They had a search warrant saying they were looking for subversive materials."

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